Tuesday, 20 November 2018 | News today: 22

Zaev ‘ready’ to reach consensus with everyone, including opposition leader

The government is authorized to propose initiating of constitutional amendments and is tasked by a committee, provided that it is approved by Parliament, to prepare draft-amendments within 15 days. Here, as the head of government, I will confirm that together we will sit down to work on amendments, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Tuesday at a session in which MPs debate constitutional changes.

“We must not dare to make amendments ourselves. We only draft the amendments and we will work together if we have to, here in Parliament if necessary, to verify the identity, Macedonian language either in existing amendments or in a new, fifth amendment. Greece has nothing against our identity and our language. I stand ready to talk with Greece, this is not something disputable. The problem is to make a distinction with North,” he stated.

One of the amendments, Zaev said, proposes the adjective ‘North’ to be added before ‘Macedonia’, and another one foresees to highlight decisions of ASNOM (Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia) because ‘the Proclamation of ASNOM calls on Macedonians from all Macedonias.’

According to him, its aims is to prevent any future accusations from Greece about irredentist claims.

The third amendment, Zaev added, secures inviolability of borders and no territorial ambitions.

“Here, in the Balkans, taking care of our citizens living in neighboring countries and beyond is defined in the constitutions differently than those of the EU countries. To care for your expats has to be adequate to the European way without implications for interference into the internal affairs either of neighboring countries or other,” noted Zaev.

The goal, he said, is to find an agreement that would lead to friendship and will leave no marks, which could enable in the future some new administrations, in Macedonia or in Greece, to create some kind of inconveniences.

“Now, we are verifying the need to initiate constitutional amendments, draft-amendments will be voted further in the process. A 2/3 majority is required to support constitutional changes. It’s a process that takes more than 100 days. Thus, once again, as head of executive power, I’m stating that I am ready to sit down with everyone, including the leader of VMRO-DPMNE, in order to establish a consensus on the matter,” Zaev told MPs.

The PM spoke during day two of a debate in Parliament on the proposed constitutional changes. The plenary session resumes on Wednesday.